Thursday, April 30, 2009

Something, Anyway

As interiorly
fluid and as hard
and brutally unyielding
as an opal: crystalline – translucent –

and irrelevant to hope: glowing like a blank unseeing eye
beneath a surface – a lie without a purpose –

magnificently unimportant – takes your
best shot and you disappear.

Something, anyway,
is going on


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Liability and Feast

Perturbed, impatient end-of-April glare
blares on – exacting indiscriminate revenge
against each surface, object, dusty
corner in the forlorn place: but maybe
it’s not quite as bad as you had thought –

to see what time, and care, and randomly
inevitable probabilities-come-true –
and night – have wrought: the wobbly lines,
the fallibilities, chiaroscuro, mess: happiness,
confusion, pain in great profusion: one

beloved friend has conquered her distress,
post-stroke; another, on his birthday,
sits inside a psych ward in psychosis –
as you poke your violin preparing for
a concert some orchestral passages

of which your fingers have refused
to play (reliably, at least): but that may be
the liability and feast of day, and light – its
evident determination to inveigle you into
a less defended view, capacity for sight.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hospital Rhymes

Let the florist’s flowers wilt –
let the hospitals fill up and empty:
let whatever has to heal get well
and wish whatever has to go to Hell
Godspeed: Existence breeds
the demon seed of illness, birth

and death: seems to need to feed,
and feed on, breath (evil, backwards:
live, like jive, and live, like give):
gets a bead on tumult, shoots,
uproots and leaves you in the lurch.
Doesn’t help to go to church.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Maleness, Flayed and Filleted

When it cannot
it’s the hero,

its sexual
tanks to zero.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Full System Response

You strain your mighty best to gain a pattern –
take the random mad intrusions of bright fractured
light, insoluble geometry, all lathered by the untoward

ninety-two degrees of heat with which Manhattan
wants to eat you – then imagine you can take the larger
aerially distant view: see random blocks

of intersecting lines that skew with almost absolute
abandon: try to see a symmetry that suits:
or maybe stunted breakage of a mind and body:

shoddy by default – impregnable by willed design:
as if each line were prescient with insentience:
existentially divinely irredeemable: and yet

you’ll prod your pens and paper to an estimable
and accessible production: cleaned up by the reflex
suction of the ascertaining brain: a little park, a drain,

a purple artery, all outlined as if everything made sense.
Too many breathing, yearning, sweating, blooming
beauties all at once today, too hot, too dense.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Softer Side

And yet there is a softer side –
diaphanously transcendental –
embracing, baldly sentimental –
a pearled diurnal April ride

through warming air that keeps
some subtlety alive; a sweet
light breath aspires to treat
imagination to its gentler leaps:

you heed this silent Saturday
and sense the presence of someone
you haven’t met: a man, undone,
imprisoned by some harder, flatter way

of living than the one you’d choose:
but something tugs, ignites –
inexorably draws you and excites
a willingness in you to lose

your heart to him: a sharp romance –
imaginary and ridiculous –
and yet you follow its meticulous
sweet reverie through every dance

the softer side permits.
And here he sits.


Friday, April 24, 2009

City Spring

Ruthlessly awakening, a New York Spring
is not about the pretty or the sweet –
nothing in this city panders. Sidewalks,
streets provide indifferent concrete
frames and bands Manhattan’s scrabbling
mad vertiginously budding bushes, branches
need to bibble, bubble, cram into
and in-between: squiggly green stuff

grasps and gasps off curbs and cul-de-sacs
and V-shaped parks that pockmark scree
and pile and drain and block and brick:
sickly – thickly – toiling in the meager soil –
unreasonably pushing and resisting
and insisting on its dumb unanswered song
and say. Downstairs, all day, an aged half-blind
cocker spaniel sits up, tense, erect, behind

the bars of his bleak sentry window, barks
unceasingly at sudden shifts and pops
and sparks of light, the vague bright
sun-punched sight of breeze-whipped creatures,
buses, taxis moving, heaving, leaving,
blaring, glaring: insurrections daring to verge
into view – repetitiously suspicious
of another endless resurrection of the new.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Being Here

It’s not exactly
taxidermy. I mean, well, yes,
I guess there’s much the Universe
would like to press into
the pockets, caverns,
simulacritudes of you –

but let’s not think we can’t make do
with what we’ve got.
Amazing what can hit the spot.
Occasionally graciously –
and almost always spaciously –
if often, let’s admit, salaciously –
an “I” can do without the dot.

The torrents and vicissitudes
that make up life
are so ubiquitously evident,
accessible and free of strife
one hasn’t any need to fear:
it’s clear enough,
if queer – this being here.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do It While You're Warm

You tell yourself you’ve got the stuff
you’ll need to broach the specificities
of the infinity you now approach:
Schumann’s symphony, his first, the “Spring,”
will be the mad ebulliently youthful thing

that next requires your aging bow – and oh! –
you’ll try to see the enterprise of playing it
as one extravagant investigation
rather than an invitation to plunge back into
that old inequitable woe (in which you take

your fiddle out and wonder how on heaven,
earth or hell to make it go): perhaps
this time you’ll quickly burst right through
the war and sway and burble happily
and lead the section of first violins placed

in your charge as if you’d found a life, at last,
enlarged, you could adore – look into
every passing color: will and trill it into form.
You’ve still got something left, and you
won’t always. Do it while you’re warm.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Now That You've Made It Up

Today you feel the gnawing
clawing small compulsion
to get on with it – as if
the Universe had suddenly
decided it was finite –
and you had to reach the end
of something now: perhaps
the hunger is mammalian:

gotta have salami or a nap
or sex or the approval
of the pretty, popular and rich
to satisfy an atavistic itch –
ennobled with enigma though
it’s really biologically driven
greed: no seed of insight,
philosophic genesis or lofty dream –

but merely scrabbling little puffs
of body-steam: involuntary
avaricious blips and gaseous
schemes. Perhaps you just arose
just now not to arouse
the clouds of the dimensions
of your mind to find a deeper
sense of what it means

to be here but because if you
don’t make stuff up there
there won’t be much to see here
you could tolerate. Perhaps
reacting to that urge is all you have
to keep from going mad. And yet –
now that you’ve made it up –
it doesn’t seem so bad.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Fertile Secrecy

Cool and soft-edged
afternoon – lit as if
some mesh of silk

detail had woven
itself into green-pearl
robes a sun could wear –

to dare in day to play
a moon – pale and porous –
quiet, private, glorious –

ballooning gently into
something almost
too enticing to be borne:

oh, if fertile secrecy
like this might rule
your forlorn heart! –

delectably direct
its hum and buzz.
Today it almost does.


Sunday, April 19, 2009


Spindle-posted porch
sans house – half-doused
with cartoon coloring –
all flimsy and askew –
a child’s dream – without
one shadow, bit of whimsy,

or contextual long
view: no more than what
its scribbles seem: and yet
as true and sound
as any other human
scheme. Perhaps, my dear,

there are no depths
to anything – maybe
everything’s a kind
of fragile open breezeway:
plain and fresh – ephemeral –
accessible – as Spring.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Philistinic Moi

Wagner’s “Ring” is warbling
and pardon me for caviling
but I can’t take to anything

that lays it on as thick as Mafioso bling,
then makes the goddamned thickness sing
(infelicitous, that Mafioso bling,

but “wet cement” won’t rhyme) –
and maybe I’m not man enough to want to spend the time

to try divining Wotan’s leitmotivic psychic cellar
or the ways he casts or breaks a spell or

any of the other fol-de-bloo-de-blahs
to which the Niebelung extends his endless

but I’ve got work to do, you know,
cartoons and tunes – wild oats to sow –
and I can’t stand the way those Germans blow

their trombones and their tubas, bang their tympani
in heavy slams – their stabs to prime and glamorize, accompany
these hordes of braying beef: my knee

hurts, dang it –
accidentally managed just right then to bang it –
should’ve heard the way I sang it –

louder than the loudest mad Germanic

Threaten me with kick or stick or brick.
but try to make me sit through it and I’ll get sick –
or find another way to get out quick.


Friday, April 17, 2009


By reflex one
wants progress –
to believe that
gains, acquired,
will stay, so one

might then begin
to play, forgetting
all the sorrow,
strain and undertow –
the thunder blow

of random life:
the heavy thud
and stroke,
the untoward
poke and slice,

Existence’ bleeding
price. One tires
of persistence –
or one does
when one abstractly

cedes the source
of one’s experience
to something
howlingly extraneous –
some alien exerting

and exacting force –
some dark indifferent
genesis whose
course would seem
to seek distinctly

to divorce one’s
senses from
oneself. One acts
as if one is a thing
upon another’s shelf.

It clears up slightly –
feels more free
and true – when one
imagines “one”
as “me” and “you.”


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thing About this Sort of Thing

(doodle in the wake of a friend’s stroke)

Something like a letter of an alphabet –
hybrid of a “D” and “G” – amalgamated,
maybe, out of Donna and of me:

cartoon-simple scraps of faces captured
in it (don’t know who they are or why
they’re three) – maladroitly tinted – colors

with a proto-meaning: something
that might coalesce into rememberable form.
Turned off the radio and sat with all

my pencils and my markers at the table
in the quiet: here’s what spawned. Thing
about this sort of thing is: no one’s warned.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


"— unless you’re Buñuel, and I think about him pretty much every
day. You have to look for a way to free yourself, and he had
the best conceivable way: he just jumped to the surreal.” Mike Nichols

("For Mike Nichols, a MoMA Retrospective" – New York Times,
April 12, 2009)

To see the creature
in the corner of the screen
appear to plan a panoply
of new relations to the filigree
of lingualicissicissity

between the viewer (you)
and viewed (what had, by now,
we’d hoped, incontrovertibly
been thoroughly construed
as true) must surely

be dismissed as skewed
without its having benefited
from the input of the efficacious
acumen of an elite critiquing
crew: the shrewdest few

of whom, however, we
had long ago observed –
alas! – had whittled down
to less than two – at best.
And yet one must subject

oneself to tests! And so
we hereby now heave ho.
Kick-box all the lumpen
odds and beat ‘em. Anneal
to the surreal for freedom.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Though Not Perhaps

New York City Spring
rides an exacerbating swing:
though not perhaps as if some gifted schizophrenic king
had ordered his best alchemists to bring
their favorite sparkling bits of bling

to melt into a scalding metal ring
with which to strangle and to sting
the city into shedding mist like piss to zing
across each dropped forgotten Chinese take-out chicken wing.
Can’t decide on green, or warm, or here, or anything.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Green Man

Who’s he?
What’s he want?

Where’s he come from?
Why’s he green?

Why did brain and fingers
conjure up suggestions

of the enigmatically
particular conundrum

he’s apparently just seen?
Or is he blank

as pencil dust?
Or is he whom you ought

to thank for keeping bright
a private sense

of tenderness?:
why are all the best things

secret? What is there
to peek at through

those gently tense
withholding eyes?

Wonder if a drawing
ever cries.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

It Was As If

It was as if
a little witch
who’d landed
heavily inside

a lake-large cup
of toxic tea
that for her

to re-attain
her sovereignty
she’d have
to choose

consuming it
and flying
so fast out

of it that
nothing could
she had been

in its extravagantly
undesired sea.
It was as if
she suddenly

and absolutely
knew that
neither was
a possibility.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pitch a Tent

Pitch a tent.
the wilderness.
Forgive it for its

having stranded you,
remanded you
to this unknowing.
Plant and hoe

a psychic garden,
keep it growing.
Raise a little pack
of dogmas,

feed them, take them
regularly out to pee.
Be a voluntary


Friday, April 10, 2009

Nothing Less

would be nice.
But hell breaks through –
slices you
to shreds –

of life –
of death.

a roar
for which
you haven’t breath.
You’ll take abject apologies.
Nothing less.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lascivious Shenanigan

Tulip: shouting! –
sprouting, spouting
like a garish emanating urn

disseminating a seductive perfumed
many-headed ghost:
amorphous host to Spring –

lascivious shenanigan!: burning as if nothing
were a bigger deal than turning to
(and winking through her reddish-orange hue at) you:

aberrant and true! Doesn’t fit? Who cares?
She won’t quit! She dares
to love you ignominiously:

relishes the untoward pair.
(look it up in Deuteronomy) –

why not? Imagine she contains
the secret to your destiny –
your lot. She’s hot.

Sniff swiftly, lick her lip.
Grab her by her handles:
take a nip.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April Snow

Spring is snowing! –
flailing flakes: clouds send quaking
limbs, extend slim fingers, prestidigitating
digits, elongated shins and thighs, supplicating

thinnesses all pleading with the skies.
Open your precipitating eyes!

April’s leaking terror.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Boobies in the Way

On the Intrusion of Visual Art into Verse

Time to dress up –
time to ‘fess up!
Revolution is at hand.
Substituting for the band

tonight will be, in fact,
the sort of act
you never came to see.
But this thing wants to be –

insists that it will entertain
despite the mental strain
it cannot not induce:
or that it must traduce

your laws and expectations.
Send your tsk-tsk’s on vacations.
These boobies gonna mix it.
There’s no way you can fix it.

You sit there with a penciled fist
and try to write a better list
of things to do today.
Got boobies in the way.

They think it’s tragic
you might miss the magic.
So they wriggle and they hoot
and kick you down the chute

of their proclivities.
And now you’re their activities.
(Ah, but: block a poem?
Ha. You’ll show ‘em.)


Monday, April 6, 2009

Ways She Uses Me

Late morning rain – erasing time –
her April iridescence hinted at behind:
I’m once again Manhattan’s passionate

indentured servant, grateful slave:
I crave the soft-rhyme daze she gives me:
glaze of lamplight on brocade:

senses of a century ago invoke, exhume
the mellow looming glow and private
quiet tenderness of half-lit room –

I am the liquid gray-pearl light outside,
I am the inward flame of her enfolding
frame of home: I’m only what her grand

Imagination will admit: I am her bold
refusal to submit: her hidden history:
her Jamesian experience of mystery:

garbed in the gold of lavishly appointed
Nineteen-Hundred-Nine: I am her fine
accoutrements: I face her laden Meissen

plate: I am the polished silver spoon
and knife and fork to be deployed –
enjoyed – by my extravagant New York.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Idiosyncrasy Meets Eternity

He’s given early morning –
with its inevitable pink –
no sooner does he notice it
than it is on the brink

of an ensuing blue –
departing and arriving –
momentary innocence
expunged – and yet surviving

to regenerate, give birth
to yet another blink at fixity:
madness or enlightenment? –
to try to follow this prolixity –

as void as it is full –
not here and so completely here
that synapses give up
and zap towards another sphere

more plausible than this.
He’s trapped; he has no choice –
too limited by point-of-view
and his inexorable voice.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Her Private Palimpsest

Some Gifts in You

Surrounded by her own exquisite static, she can’t

know she is the grand emphatic countenance
she seeks; she is the vatic muse she yearns for;
fractal – split apart and driven into fairy-stories,
strangely turned and curved escape routes

from and to her riven cartoon heart – she trusts
in nothing past a dreamily remembered sense
that she has lost her indispensability: and yet there
is no more delicious sensibility than she; she has
the delicacy, shimmer and extremity of grace –

and brutal sharpened claws that she withdraws
so that she won’t disfigure any unsuspecting face:
which – oh! – be sure she could, and would,
were she to feel the least soft provocation –
flee to questionable freedom from the sharp

electric sparks of her stark self-imprisoned station;
she is safe as long as she insures your safety
through her absence, through an underscored
extravagance of absence; with intolerable secrecy
she etches into – quickly smoothes, reuses –

her one waxen page – her private palimpsest,
a poetry which nobody will ever see:
involuting through the furling leaf-like phases
of her own mortality: certain something bleak –
unspeakable – beyond the haze – is her reality.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Purity Had Dreams of Murk Last Night

Purity had dreams of murk
last night: her bright white gladness,
feathered faintly yellow-pink,
decided to desert her virtue –
and descend into the drink –
the bilge – beyond the brink of virulence
and toxic spillage: into richly warranted humiliation

and chagrin: she thought she’d find out
what the deal was in the rusting colonnaded tin
of orange oily gunk she saw, uncovered
for the opposite of anyone’s delight or delectation –
frightful smell and texture way past funk:
sickly glistening inside the round jar’s gaping maw:
next to a moldy greenish cloth which she

would not exactly try to use to wipe the ointment off:
for she had fused her fingers and her innocence
by now into the stuff and felt a sucking fit:
and let her senses spin with it –
and secretly she’s stained like sin with it
and now she vows she won’t come out
like sweet young breathy Spring.

However, she woke up:
and can’t recall a thing.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Running Arabesque

Much of what makes this metropolis spectacular
is blindly given to her by those fascinating folk who only
vaguely know they’re here. Such unsuspecting ornaments! –
all breathing, veering, seething, studiously ignorant
of every incremental fusing city tactic, her impediments
of untoward wheezes, sneezes, freezes, sleaze – and all her
other random difficulties, easinesses – none of which
has conscious meaning to her self-involved half-sentient

citizens; yet all of which somehow conduce to their
extravagantly bold careening through her avenues and streets
and alleys – corners, sudden darknesses and bleakly
bright comeuppances that strike with a sadistic paroxysmal
glee; the way a knee butts crotch, slick hand removes a wallet
from a pocket, crucial bus refuses to arrive, the way
New York contrives so under-handedly to toss
together every bum and yuppie like so many crumbs from

some half-eaten feast: the way Manhattan’s human beings
seem completely to exist for her as colorful quaint species
to deploy: creatures to partake of her, and to be taken by her
at the least whim in her vast appalling soul. So that
she makes again, again the same exacting whole of us,
and her: effulgent masses streaming madly, complicatedly:
a humming onward rush of outlined ambiguities –
fashionable chaos – elegant burlesque: a running arabesque.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frog-Eyed and Squeaking Like a Bat

To a degree of existential reprehensibility, I’m sure,
I search for sense: i.e., as I bob up and down
all night and cobble swatches of sufficient sleep
together to begin to weather hints of prospects
of another day, I search for plausible effects
and causes – reach a bug-eyed pause at
half-past-two or three, for which the only possible

salvation is pre-dawn TV: low-volume PBS rehauls
of college courses – on, say, Trojan Horses,
Pennsylvania, schizophrenia, Ancient Chinese Art,
or whether light is particle or wave – and as I let
their varied whitish noises softly and voluminously
rave, my flesh colludes with psyche to behave as if it
had just then begun to have received permission

to begin the run to its most treasured sweet oblivion:
I plunge from anxious wakefulness into the deepest
oddest sweep of sleep through which varieties
of cobbled creatures swim and creep: two solid hours
of extravagantly tooled and rendered jeweled
accompaniment: after which, frog-eyed and squeaking
like a bat, and manifesting other mild imponderables

not perhaps at all like that, I re-emerge and meet
the verge of what we call awake. Reprehensible
indeed to think that I might shake some reason
out of this, create a therapy with which to foster
making sleep invariable bliss: but one must try:
contract intractability and make it fly: affectionately
entertain infinity: prod it like a toddler: “why?”